UM Folklore Society to Host Halloween and Town and Gown Dances

October 29, 2015

MISSOULA – The University of Montana Folklore Society will host a Halloween dance Saturday, Oct. 31, and its annual Town and Gown Dance Saturday, Nov. 7.

The Halloween dance will take place from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Missoula Senior Center, located at 705 S. Higgins, and a workshop for beginners will be offered at 7:30 p.m. The event costs $6 for UM students showing their Griz cards and $9 for general admission. Costumes are encouraged but not required.

The Halloween dance will feature Irish music by Skippin’ a Groove, and Morna Leonard will teach and call the dance steps. Refreshments will be provided.

The Town and Gown Dance will take place from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Nov.7, in the University Center Ballroom at UM. The event also includes a beginner workshop at 7:30 p.m. This dance is free and open to the public, but donations to cover costs are appreciated. Dress is casual and eclectic. Day of the Dead costumes and political buttons are welcome.

Live music will be played by Out of Wood, which specializes in Irish music, jigs and reels. Singles, couples, families, beginners and dance stars are all welcome, and no experience or partner is required.

The Town and Gown Dance features a series of European country dances that were adapted in America to be danced in barns. Two long lines of people dance a series of simple figures and continually move along the lines until each person has danced with everyone else. Organizers said the dance figures are easy to learn and are called during the dance.

“If you can walk and smile at the same time, you can do these dances,” said Vicki Watson, UM Folklore Society adviser.

Mark Matthews of the Humanities Montana Speakers Bureau also will lead an old-time dance workshop at noon Friday, Nov. 6, in the UM UC Atrium to gather more interest for the Nov. 7 dance.

To see an example of the type of dancing featured at the UM Folklore Society dances, go to

For more information call UM Folklore Society Adviser Vicki Watson at 406-243-5153, email or visit


Contact: Vicki Watson, UM Folklore Society adviser, 406-243-5153,